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Labour’s internecine squabbles mean it missed an open goal attacking Cameron over Europe

30 June 2014

3:39 PM

30 June 2014

3:39 PM

David Cameron is currently giving his statement to the Commons on the European Council and Britain’s new best friend forever, Jean-Claude Juncker. It’s a failure that his colleagues have given him room to spin into a success, but it’s worth watching how Labour manage it too. The party had an open goal at the weekend for the newspapers to pick over the Conservatives’ European strategy, Cameron’s suitability to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe and the chances of that renegotiation being successful now Juncker is at the helm. But instead, the narrative split so that the Sunday papers were full not just of Cameron and Europe but Labour tensions. This is frustrating to those who’d worked up a line about Cameron’s competence, and to those working this week on Labour’s business strategy.

On the latter, Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna are trying hard to show that they at least understand businesses. But their party’s pro-European message – which frontbenchers see as being important for business – isn’t being heard as strongly as it could because Labour rows are getting more coverage. It could tie its stance on Europe together with a pro-business pitch, but that requires members of the shadow cabinet to keep their squabbles away from journalists’ dictaphones.

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  • beenzrgud

    The only reason Miliband opposed Juncker is because he knew he would lose lots of votes if he said what he would really have done, which is roll over like the rest and vote for him. It’s now clear to see he’s a bare faced liar. Saying that, it was always pretty clear to me he is nothing more than a political opportunist, and not a very good one at that.

  • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

    Labour knows loads about business: how to tax it, regulate it, discourage it, tax it, destroy it, make life difficult for it, tax it, impose rules upon it, make it uncompetitive, tax it … how absurd it is to suggest Ed Balls knows nothing of business.

  • Conway

    Ed Balls and Chuka Umunna are trying hard to show that they at least understand businesses” you mean?

  • Denis_Cooper

    It’s a pity if Labour didn’t make proper use of this opportunity to tease Cameron by pointing that his problems originated with the Maastricht Treaty which Major agreed and rammed through the Commons on a confidence vote.

    Does he now want to go back and deprive MEPs of their present power to veto any Commission that is proposed by the EU leaders, a power which his predecessor Major was so keen to give them, through a treaty which he refused to put a referendum?

    Of course Cameron could reply that without the Nice Treaty that Blair agreed and pushed through without a referendum he would still have had a veto to use on the European Council to block Juncker, and that would be true; but if he had done that them there would have been a stand-off with the EU Parliament when it refused to approve anyone else who was nominated as President.

    And that could only happen because Major had agreed to give it the power of veto, when previously the EU Parliament (or Assembly) had had no involvement at all in the appointments to the Commission, those decisions having always been the exclusive preserve of the member state governments.

  • RavenRandom

    Hard to see what Labour could have done differently or better. After all they don’t trust us enough to give us a vote on in or out do they?

    • Daidragon

      If you want out you have to vote UKIP. Every other party supports in. Cameron has to pretend he’s closer to the fence because he has a divided party.

      • RavenRandom

        No I have to vote Conservative. That way I get a vote, assuming they win the election. UKIP can’t win but voting for them can ensure Labour wins and then we have zero chance of getting a referendum.
        Brutal arithmetic makes only one course of action realistic.

        • Paddy

          Hear hear!

          Anything to keep Labour out.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            If that’s your goal, you best not split the UKIP vote.

        • Daidragon

          You were given a cast iron guarantee last time. Maybe you can kid all the people all the time? I dunno The only party that would leave the EU though is UKIP. Be under no illusions on that score.

          • HookesLaw

            No there was no cast iron guarantee last time. Stop telling lies. Lisbon had been signed by 2010 and there was no promise of a referendum in 2010.
            The tory position in the 2009 Euros was quite clear.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …yes, it was clear, transparent cast iron.

              Dave’s a metallurgist, you know.

    • Conway

      Of course not. Mandelson (who’s been hired by Serbia to oil the wheels to their accession to the EU) thinks we are all too thick to be allowed a vote.

      • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

        How very European!

  • CharlietheChump

    Labour. Pro business. Ha Ha Ha.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    That Fr. Merkel pushed through Hr. Juncker against an European election with only a 43% turnout bring the DDR passed of Fr. Merkel to mind. It is factual the EU parliament has no democratic legitimacy with over a half of the population who did not bother to vote with a high protest content who do not what to vote. Bridges have been burnt Fr. Merkel.

  • Daidragon

    Every humiliation Cameron suffers is re-spun into some sort of achievement by our ‘free press’

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Well compared to that preposterous idiot Miliband you can spin just about anything as a a success. Will he be offering us a referendum on EU membership? Not a chance. Will he create conditions for business to thrive and thus create wealth for the UK. Not a chance. Miliband will remain the incompetent, cowardly oaf leading Labour the party of lies, lying and liars.

      • Daidragon

        Deflection as per. Wether it be the world cup bid, Syria vote, Juncker fiasco or one of the multitude of U turns and screw ups we’ve seen from Dave, his spectacular failures are dressed up as success. It’s very cowardly journalism.

        • Inverted Meniscus

          Still preferable to vermin like Miliband.

          • Daidragon

            Vermin? That’s nice. You’re in a dark place my friend.

            • Inverted Meniscus

              Well nye Bevan can keep me company then can’t he? But I forgot, you hypocritical socialist nutters believe that it is perfectly acceptable for Tories to be referred to as Vermin.

              • Daidragon

                I’ve never referred to anyone as vermin. Quite telling that you have to go back to the 50’s to find a justification for it.

          • Kitty MLB

            I think you were being quite polite about Ed Moribund. I have
            heard him being likened to a political vulture. Hiding in the
            corner with nothing to offer a dark eyed scavenger waiting
            for his prey to make a mistake and then ravage the flesh, as he
            did to his big brother.

            • Paddy

              He is sly and sneaky.

        • HookesLaw

          You are spouting rubbish.

        • http://www.CaerphillyPreserves.co.uk/ No Good Boyo

          So, as I understand it, they are not a truly free press because some publications apply an interpretation to events that you don’t approve of. In a perfect world, you’d ensure that all papers follow the line you’d like them to, and then they will be a truly “free” press. Have I got that right?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    It’s a travesty that something as important as this, the UK’s relationship with an increasingly alien EU, must be dealt with in terms of what Labour does to create embarrassment or to safely position itself for tactical tribal games.

    Of course the media are complicit too. Where are the grown-ups?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you best look outside Speccieville, or below the line, for that.

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